By Daniel Hunter

Shop prices deflated for a 23rd consecutive month in March, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Overall prices fell by 2.1%, compared with 1.7% in February. Compared with the same period last year, prices are down 1.7%.

Although food prices have been in the spotlight over the past year in the supermarket price war, they only fell by 0.9% in March, from 0.4% in February. Non-food items were down 2.8%, however.

BRC Director General, Helen Dickinson, said: “Prices in Britain’s shops reached another new low, this month by -2.1%. That’s the deepest deflation rate since our records began in December 2006."

“Clothing and electricals continue to outshine by offering consumers eye-catching bargains. In fact, there’s evidence of plenty of promotions and price-cuts in non-food items which should help drive up sales at a time when retailers are turning their attention to the Summer ranges.

“Both retailers and consumers will cheer on a hat-trick of good economic news. The Consumer price index (CPI) has fallen to zero for the first time on record, boosting incomes in real terms and bringing the UK to the brink of a spell of deflation that is expected in the coming months. That fall is largely the result of a deep oil price slump (down 49 per cent on a year ago) and the continuing fierce competition among supermarkets who’ve dropped fuel and food prices over the year."